This month the Independent Brewers Association (formerly the Craft Beer Industry Association) launched their new initiative to raise the profile of real craft beers and assist consumers in differentiating them from their mass produced, industrialised cousins that have been slyly entering the market of late. This initiative comes in the form of the seal that you see above, and we are very proud to say that as an independent, all Australian brewery we are a part of this program and you will be find this seal on our products very, very soon!!
The aim of this seal is to promote locally owned and independent products and to differentiate them from the pseudo “craft beer” that mega-breweries and multi-national brewing companies are introducing to the market.
These industry giants are producing pseudo "craft beers" to piggy back on the consumers trend toward craft beer and the global trend of buying local products and supporting local businesses. Through their marketing these conglomerates and industrialised breweries severely blur the boundary of what the consumer associates with craft beer. They make their beers sound local when they're not and they just slap craft on their label and enter the markets.
Because they have marketing budgets that we as small independents dream of as actual budgets it’s very hard to compete with them. This is why the IBA was created. It currently represents around 50% of craft brewers in Australia and all of them can apply for and use this seal. We hope to see more independent breweries getting on board with the IBA and this program in the near future. Together we are stronger!!
This argument and the abuse of the word “craft” by these industry giants is happening worldwide and was perfectly highlighted a few weeks ago in a public exchange over in the USA when Peter Coors, the chairman of MillerCoors -the World’s 7th largest brewery by volume-, sent an open letter to the Brewers Association slamming their support of craft beer and their distaste toward mega-breweries like his. The perfect response came from Nikos Ridge, president and co-founder of craft brewery Ninkasi Brewing in Oregon, explaining where these multi-national, profit seeking conglomerates are at fault. Give both letters a read and tell us what you think.
Over in the USA there is also a case brewing (pun intended) where a mega-brewery is being accused of trying to fool customers with their marketing. Stone brewery, started in 1996, are suing Peter Coors' MillerCoors conglomerate for breach of their trademarks.
Yes you the consumer are whom can help us here! Keep an eye out for the Certified Independent Seal and spread the word! Tell your friends, ask other breweries that you visit if they know about it and use it. Use the hashtag #askforindiebeer on social media and help us keep the craft beer for those that do it for the love of beer, not just for the profits!